NDP promises elementary school for Olympic Village during campaign stop
VANCOUVER -- The BC NDP says that if re-elected it’s ready and able to build an elementary school in Vancouver’s Olympic Village.
Candidates for both the Vancouver-Fairview and Vancouver-False Creek ridings made the announcement Saturday morning, saying the funding has been allocated through the NDP’s recently announced recovery investment fund.
Candidate for Vancouver-False Creek Brenda Bailey told media the school has been “waiting too long.”
In fact, families have been calling for both BC NDP and BC Liberal governments to build the school for more than 10 years. The City of Vancouver made a plan to build it before the 2010 Olympics.
In October 2019, Vancouver City Council passed a motion calling on the province to prioritize funding for the school. At the time, council discussed setting aside land for the project on Columbia Street near Hinge Park.
When asked about a timeline for development, Vancouver-Fairview candidate George Heyman outlined the next steps.
“We’ll ask the school board to prepare a business case, hopefully that can take less than 6 months, and that will go immediately to Treasury Board for a decision, those decisions get made quickly and then it can be full steam ahead,” Heyman said.
Parents living in Vancouver's Olympic Village neighbourhood have long been frustrated with the lack of options when it comes to sending their kids to school.
“Anybody that says kids don't live in condos – that is just an out dated belief," said Lisa McAllister, who lives in Olympic Village with her family of four.
Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson was also asked Saturday if his party would commit to the same school plan.
“That’s a completely legitimate query that we’ll be addressing in the election campaign,” Wilkinson said.
Parties commit to building Richmond Hospital expansion
Both Wilkinson and NDP candidate Adrian Dix, who was minister of health during the recently dissolved legislature, were at Richmond Hospital Saturday, reaffirming their party’s commitments to building the hospital expansion.
The project has been on the table for years, initially approved by the Liberal government in 2016. In 2018, after the NDP came to the power, the party announced the project would be moving forward.
In July of this year, NDP leader John Horgan visited the site to announce the new acute care tower would be bigger than originally planned, and include a new emergency department and intensive care unit.
On Saturday, Wilkinson pointed to the fact the project had been left out of the NDP’s 2020 budget, saying, “Where’s the proof they support the Richmond hospital?”
Contracts to build the tower were awarded in August 2018, but the final business plan is still waiting for final approval. Dix on Saturday said, “The money is in the budget, the money is there for this project.”
Richmond is a key focus for the NDP ahead of the Oct.24 election. All four ridings in the city are held by the Liberal party.
Greens promise transportation strategy, sustainability
Green party leader Sonia Furstenau campaigned in Victoria Saturday, promising a transportation strategy for southern Vancouver Island and funding for sustainable projects.
“That includes bike lanes, paths, parks, community spaces and pedestrian only streets. We can also make the expanded patio program permanent,” Furstenau said.